By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 31: Han Chinese and western students of Buddhism enrolled at the Larung Gar Institute which has been under demolition have been ‘quietly ordered to leave’ by the Chinese authorities, according to RFA
A source told RFA that several hundred Han Chinese, living at Larung Gar as ‘lay practitioners’ while some ‘monastically ordained’ have been evicted from the centre.
“Many of them had lived in Larung Gar for many years, while others joined in order to study and practice,” said RFA source, adding that these Chinese students were from different parts of China.
Many western students from the US and Europeans countries studying at Larung Gar were also forced to leave, the same source added. .
Tibetan nuns and monks made up for the largest number of forced removal from the Buddhist institute, he said. “They were not allowed to go back to their family homes but first had to undergo a month of patriotic re-education program, after which they were allowed to return”, he said.
After the forced evictions of 500 or so Tibetan monks and nuns from Golok on Dec. 24, another large number of nuns were reportedly expelled on Dec. 28.
Chinese authorities still continue bringing down structures at the Larung Gar Buddhist institute, forcibly removing the monks and nuns from the center as they seek to reduce the school’s population by half in coming year.
As one of the world’s largest and important centers for studying Tibetan Buddhism, Serta Larung Gar founded in 1980 by late Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok had tens of thousands students including Han Chinese and western students.
Thousands of the monks and nuns are already expelled from the school since July after Chinese authorities started demolishing houses at the institute saying the settlement is overcrowded. Yet many suspect it as another tactic by China to curb religious freedom of Buddhists fearing the institute’s huge concentration and ‘aiming to weaken’ it.